This list presents a broad cross section of songs we’ve been borderline obsessed with, along with those we just couldn’t shake this year. Some took the floor from under us one time in a pounding club, others existed purely on our laptops, to be replayed, replayed, replayed. Some we’d heard every morning before we left for work, others we’ve garbled at the top of our lungs on the late journey home. We started with a huge longlist of great tracks – here are the 50 which made the final cut.



Understand ft. Nick Hook & Machinedrum Self-released

Although DJ Rashad tragically passed away last year, we’ve felt his presence in 2015 through the passion of his peers and a plethora of high quality posthumous material. Perhaps best of all was Understand – taken from Machinedrum’s collaborative tribute EP Movin’ Forward – which balanced frenetic rhythms with a warm sound palette, conjuring up images of late pioneer’s charming smile.

Davy Reed



Misty Eyed Porno Reader Dull Tools

Snarling, heavily accented and able to plumb the ultimate depths of deadpan, Veronica Torres’ perfect take on eye-rolling irony pierces through the saxophone-split post-punk cacophony the band presents in Misty Eyed Porno Reader. “Are you keeping my feelings and my body safe?” she taunts while simultaneously sounding like nothing could ever, ever touch her – and all the while crushing drums and sax-accompanied guitars avalanche around her.

Sammy Jones



Thirstin' Future Times

Jack Jutson, half of the Pender Street Steppers, has been producing laid-back, melodic house that has real cross-genre appeal for a while now, and this year’s Thirstin has torn up dancefloors worldwide. The disco walking bass, Fender Rhodes piano and descending vocal lines all help, but it’s the clattering, otherworldly effect the intermittent tape echo lends that makes this one of the most charming records of the year.

Robert Bates



The Hills XO / Republic

Somehow, Abel Tesfaye’s creepy voyeurism seemed more palatable when it arrived lacquered up in big-budget major-label ridiculousness. He went from being a genuinely unsavoury character to taking on more of a Patrick Bateman role – so overtly spine-chilling and sinister that it all became quite good fun. The Hills was the climax of his American horror story – a pop anthem so hair-raising that even the synths sound like the distant screams of those who crossed his path. Don’t pick up the phone half past five. Whatever you do.

Duncan Harrison



Side By Side Dragon Punch Records

Side By Side was a staple of grime raves this year. This infectious hit uses veteran grime DJ Sir Spyro’s – presenter of Rinse FM’s Grime Show and generally regarded as the best grime DJ on road – Mizuno instrumental, featuring Bloodline MCs Bossman, President T, and Big H flexing their lyrical muscles on the hook, sidebysidebysidebyside.

Anna Tehabsim



Ruffian Ancient Monarchy

Surely anyone can churn out a bit of ’92 worship these days, but where fakes play it safe with piano-stabs and funky drummer, Gramrcy went full industrial-dystopian with it. Listen to those wailing sirens that kick in with the beat – years from now, when the surface of the earth is totally fucked, that’ll be what they use to evacuate bits of our shitty subterranean cities.

Xavier Boucherat


Dj Firmeza

Alma Do Meu Pai Principe Discos

Alma Do Meu Pai translates roughly as ‘soul of my father’ – this track and its accompanying EP were dedicated to Firmenza’s late parent. Having picked up the tricks of the trade from Batida godfather DJ Nervoso, the 20-year-old producer turned in this focused mantra-like opus for Príncipe. Twitching polyrhythmic beat patterns stretching across six minutes of spirited energy, this was Firmenza’s first proper release for the imprint and it proved that we’ll be talking about Lisbon’s outer-regions for many years to come.

Duncan Harrison


Kanye West

All Day ft. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, Paul McCartney GOOD Music / Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam

Kanye scrapped the official All Day video in favour of the BRIT Awards performance footage, and it would have been absurd not to. Inevitably, some tried their best to provoke a backlash online after the show, but the track itself has archived an exhilarating moment in popular culture – a much-needed jolt of adrenaline for a British public who’d begun to accept the award ceremony concept as nothing better than a bland and predictable form of corporate hell.

Davy Reed


Fetty Wap

679 ft. Monty RGF / 300

In the post-Trap Queen debris where everyone was manically scrambling around for their fix of hooks, Fetty came through with the re-up. 679 is just as astonishingly catchy and it comes with the same dosage of shoulder-popping New Jersey bounce. You can tell it’s a Fetty Wap song when every single section sounds like a chorus – this is one of those examples. Grade-A pop-rap magic. Squaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Duncan Harrison



Snakeskin 4AD

“I was born already nailed to the cross,” sings Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox in the opening line of Snakeskin, perhaps Cox’s most transparent evocation of his own physicality to date. Filled with rattlesnake rolls and sharp whip-cracks recalling the gothic loneliness of the old Western frontier, this was a triumphant display of Deerhunter’s massive range, both in Cox’s overt introspection and his band’s musical ambition to mirror his lifelong feelings of isolation.

Billy Black